An ancient Indian festival known for colour, dancing and singing is on in Whangārei this weekend.

The Ratha Yatra Festival - a significant Hare Krishna festival - began thousands of years ago in India but was introduced to the West about 50 years ago by a guru named AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and is now held around the world.

"Ratha" means "chariot" and "yatra" means "parade" or "procession" - thus the festival refers to the procession of deities on a chariot.

Radha Sundari travelled from Dunedin to take part in the 2017 Ratha Yatra Festival. Photo/John Stone
Radha Sundari travelled from Dunedin to take part in the 2017 Ratha Yatra Festival. Photo/John Stone

There is Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi and as they travel through the city they will bestow blessings on the residents of Whangārei and all those who are fortunate to see them.

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Saturday's festival of chariots is the sixth event held in Whangārei and the parade is known to bring lots of dancing, singing and smiles to the city.

The parade starts at Food for Life in Water St at 11am and is followed by a free feast in Cafler Park at 1pm.

The event is family-friendly and punters are encouraged to head along and help pull the beautiful cart through Whangārei.